National Leadership Award – Innovative fund raising or scam? You decide.

07.21.06 | 2 Comments

Recently I received a telephone message from Congressman Tom Reynolds indicating that I was a winner of the “National Leadership Award.” In the background of this message, there was the usual cacophony associated with those telemarketing boiler room setups, which definitely sent the antennae up. Not to mention, I live in California, not New York, where Tom Lantos is my local Congressional representative.

I decline to state my own political views and affliations in this blog. So draw no conclusions about this statement other than it’s a fact: This award is sponsored by the Republican Party.

Here are some more facts collected during the return call to Reynold’s office:

  • It was confirmed that I have indeed won a “National Leadership Award”
  • The helpful staffer I spoke with was unable to tell me who nominated me or why I was selected
  • A recorded message from Tom Reynolds was played congratulating me on winning this prestigious award
  • The award winners names will be in a full page advertisement supporting a Republican-backed tax cut proposal
  • Award winners are asked to contribute $300 to “defray the cost of the advertisement”
  • I asked “Do I still win if I don’t contribute?” Yes was the answer.

All of this reminds me of an episode of The Simpsons where Montgomery Burns gives Homer Simpson the award for “Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence.” Burns creates the award in a bid to get Homer to release the nuclear power plant from liability due to it’s sterilizing effect on Homer.

Scam or innovative fund raising? You be the judge. Whatever you decide, if you get the call indicating you’ve won, you can make an informed choice about how to respond.

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